An ‘inspirational’ young mother was found hanged in a hotel room after she became terrified of losing her three-year-old son when he went to live with his father.
Ellen Scott from Haworth, West Yorkshire, suffered panic attacks as she battled her son’s father for custody of their child, and became ‘stressed’ by the possibility she might be pregnant again.
The 23-year-old – a keen blogger who was a studying for a degree in Event Management at Leeds Beckett University – was engaged to be married and set to fly out to visit friends in Toulouse, southern France on June 25 last year.
But Miss Scott was found in her room at the £100-a-night Hallmark Hotel near Manchester Airport where she had been staying overnight ahead of her flight.
Ellen Scott was found in her room at the £100-a-night Hallmark Hotel near Manchester Airport
The 23-year-old was a keen blogger who was a studying for a degree in Event Management at Leeds Beckett University
Two scraps of handwritten paper were found in the bin, which read ‘suicide’ and ‘recovery.
Miss Scott was described by her parents as an ‘amazing inspirational young lady’ and ‘the kindest person on this earth.’
An inquest into Miss Scott’s death heard she suffered from mood swings and was prescribed anti depressants after she became ‘terrified’ of losing her child when he temporarily went to live his father.
Although she got custody of the child following a court battle Miss Scott had also been to see her GP with anxiety and had become concerned about a pregnancy test.
In a public blog written three weeks before her death Miss Scott wrote: ‘The soul is so unbelievably confusing, we never stop learning about how our unconscious thought process affects our actions on an unwell mind – not that my mind is unwell, it just has its days.
‘This mindset only creeps in to haunt when I become anxious of my Cub’s return. I am learning to use my energies in a positive manner. I get paranoid and realize these feelings are only present because on occasion he hasn’t returned home.
‘I was emotionally tormented for such a period of time that it is only natural to go into defence and panic. Any mother would be exactly the same. It’s a long game of driving somebody completely insane.’
Miss Scott was engaged to be married and set to fly out to visit friends in Toulouse, southern France on June 25 last year
Miss Scott’s mother Anna, 49, told the inquest in Cheshire: ‘Her mood swings were extreme. She could be so happy or she could be so down that she couldn’t get out of bed.
‘On her birthday she was happy, we had cake and her son was very excited. She was excited to go France too. It is difficult because she was so changeable all the time.
Miss Scott had become concerned about a pregnancy test
‘One of the biggest problems for her is that she was terrified of losing her son. The previous summer his dad had taken him and said he was living with him. We went through all the courts and we got him back into her custody.
‘The court order states that he gets to have him one week at the end of the month and that was when her anxiety was sky high, when she was not with him. She tried to fill her week with things to take her mind off it – they were not amicable as is suggested.’
Her mother told the hearing she became increasingly worried when her daughter sent her frantic messages after arriving at the Manchester hotel.
She added: ‘She referred to having thought about hanging herself from the ceiling but that she chickened out. She did call me but I didn’t answer.
‘When I tried to call her back she didn’t answer and said she didn’t want to speak to me.
‘Sometimes with Ellen it was better to take a hard line with her to be able to pull her out of it, but it just didn’t work that night. The last message I got from her didn’t really make sense, she said “I’m losing control of my life” and something else that didn’t make sense.
‘I rang the hotel because I was worried about her and I couldn’t get through to anyone. I left a voicemail. I just wanted them to check the room.
‘It was the same situation that we had been thought a thousand times but this time there was no one there to talk her out of it.
‘She probably didn’t realise it would be so quick, that she would be unconscious so quickly and that no one was there to help her. I’m sure she didn’t go to the hotel with the intention to do that.’
Miss Scott’s mother Anna said her daughter’s mood swings were ‘extreme’ and she struggled throughout an acrimonious custody battle
Miss Scott was described by her parents as an ‘amazing inspirational young lady’ and ‘the kindest person on this earth’
A taxi arrived for Ellen at 4.45am on June 25 but there was a do not disturb sign on her door and no answer when they called for her, so the cab drove off.
Staff found her body at 1.30pm when they used the master key to gain entry.
Zelda Lancelot, a social worker for a community mental health team in Castleford, said officials had been on contact with Miss Scott but she was discharged because she seemed better.
Miss Lancelot added: ‘She felt that her family and friends were a big support for her and she was good at contacting in a crisis.
‘In January she felt that she was dealing well with her son, the relationship with his father was amicable and everything was more settled in her life. She said that she was back at college and looking forward to getting back to her studies.’
Miss Scott’s GP Dr Daniel Wardleworth told the inquest Miss Scott was ‘anxious and streesed’ about a pregnancy test which showed a faint straight line.
‘On June 15 she attended and saw a nurse with concerns that she was pregnant. She appeared anxious about the pregnancy and was advised to come back for a blood test but she did not attend.’
Recording a narrative conclusion, coroner Claire Walsh said: ‘I am satisfied that Ellen intentionally put a ligature around her neck but I cannot be sure beyond reasonable doubt that her intention was to kill herself – nor am I satisfied that this was a cry for help or that she knew how quickly it would happen. I am satisfied that it was an impulsive act. Intention to commit suicide could not be ascertained.’
During a fundraising campaign in aid of the mental health charity Mind, Miss Scott’s mother and her stepfather Roger who is a senior lecturer at Bradford College said: ‘Ellen was an amazing inspirational young lady who touched so many lives in such a positive and vibrant way.
‘People noticed her and people remembered her even after the briefest meeting. She was funny, charismatic, interesting, supporting and the life and soul to so many.’
‘Ellen always looked out for people who were lost and vulnerable. We and many other people feel that Ellen was the kindest person on this earth who unfortunately so many people took advantage of. Ellen’s love carries on to live in the hearts of many lovely people far and wide. The legacy of these friends and soul mates are something that other people may only dream of.’
- For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, or see samaritans.org for details.